The Cincinnati Reds have a pair of speed demons and a pair of turtles on their roster.
It should surprise no one that the Cincinnati Reds’ centerfielder, Billy Hamilton, is the second fastest average stealer of second base in all of baseball. Only Terrance Gore of the Kansas City Royals averaged less time when stealing second base. This is the second season in a row that Hamilton was the second fastest base stealer in MLB.
The Reds have another player in the top 40 in utility man Jose Peraza. In 16 attempts Peraza averaged .01 seconds better in stealing second than Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts. That is good company to be in.
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Of those players with at least six attempts at stealing second in 2016, the Reds had three players in the bottom thirty. In all fairness, left fielder Adam Duvall was close to the middle of the list. He just happens to be closer to the bottom than the top.
In another thing that should surprise no one who watched the Reds play in 2016, second baseman Brandon Phillips was the twelfth slowest player on average stealing bases. He declined more in base running from 2015 to 2016 than any other player in MLB. It is a stark contrast to the speed of Hamilton.
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The Reds have another, slower base runner than Phillips, third baseman Eugenio Suarez. Suarez has developed into an average defensive third baseman with average base running skills, but when attempting to steal second Suarez is the seventh slowest runner in all of MLB. That is a situation that has plagued the Reds for the past several years. Suarez, though, needs to work more on his defense and contact than his base running.
The Cincinnati Reds are good base stealers, but they lack either the speed or aggression to created runs on the basepaths.
The Reds were the second worst base running team in the National League and the fourth worst team in all of MLB in 2016. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates were worst in the NL. The Reds only beat the Pirates by 5 bases gained on the basepaths, despite nearly doubling the Pirates’ bases gained via stolen bases.
The Reds gained the fifth most bases via stolen bases, largely on the legs of Hamilton. No other team in all of baseball lost as many bases on the basepaths as the Cincinnati Reds. Only three teams had fewer successful attempts of going from first to third.
The only team that was across the board less aggress on the basepaths than the Reds were the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays used station to station base running in 2016. They didn’t steal much and when they did they were not that good at it.
While the Reds lack aggression in trying to take the extra base, they also are not very good at running. No other team in MLB was thrown out more on the basepaths, excluding steals, than the Reds. Whether it is third base coach, Billy Hatcher, who has to change, or the players, something needs to change. Hatcher asked for the role and didn’t prove himself in year one.
The Reds were more conservative on the basepaths in 2016. With Hamilton and Peraza on the team with larger roles in 2017, the team needs to run. If they can’t do better on the basepaths, they won’t be able to compete in 2017 or beyond.